Monday, March 27, 2006
Prayer connected to late night eating binges and "prayer-driving"
A mystery has been solved at Graced Space Retreat Center in Minnesota: the mystical life can result in late night binge eating.
"It was always the strangest thing," said long time cook MaryAnn Jones. "I would have the kitchen clean as a whistle each evening after dinner, things set up in the fridge and freezer for the breakfast rush, and half the time, it would be gone in the morning. I could understand people snitching a few sweets before bed, but scarfing half an industrial bag of Eggos? I mean, they don't taste that good toasted." (This reporter found warmed evidence said mysticism, above.)
When retreat directors heard of the study of Ambien (a sleep drug) induced "sleep eating," they did their own research into the eating habits of people doing centering prayer. Preliminary survey findings were "enlightening," according to Br. Michael Evanson, OSB, the center's director.
"We realized that the practice of contemplative, or centering prayer in the evening, which we teach extensively in our center, clearly opens one's consciousness to food. 98% of those surveyed who practice centering prayer report eating at some point afterward. Additionally, this explains why Weight Watchers hasn't done a dang thing for anyone on our staff," he asserted.
What was more disturbing, added Br. Evanson, was the connection between centering prayer and "prayer driving." "We may have to ask retreatants to hand over their keys for the time they stay with us. As it is, this explains why a police officer stopped one of our recent retreatants, driving slowly towards our center around 3 am. All she said was 'Abba, Abba, Abba,' and the cop took her in for a breathilizer test. She wasn't drunk, of course, but it was hard to explain to anyone what was going on. The local police station has been calling us 'Spaced space' ever since, unfortunately."
When asked if the center planned to do anything differently in the future, based on this survey, Br. Evanson said, "Not immediately. We may lock the fridge now, and take up keys. Someone suggested praying with icons instead, but that seemed a little new-fangled for us."